Home / Daily Dose / Exclusive Content: What’s New in DS News Magazine? The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Subscribe 2018-03-01 David Wharton Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago The latest issue of DS News magazine is now available in print and online, taking you deeper into the topics and challenges facing the housing and default servicing industries. The spectacular rise (and recent fall) of Bitcoin prices have helped propel cryptocurrencies into the national conversation. Speculation about the future of this type of financial transaction has even landed on the evening news and the front pages of America’s newspapers. The question that remains is how housing and mortgage professionals can utilize new forms of fintech to streamline their business. DS News is on top of the latest, bringing you the thoughts and insights of industry experts from a variety of backgrounds and fields of focus.Here’s what you’ll find inside the latest issue of DS News:CHAINS OF KNOWLEDGE—Fintech such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are rife with potential—but realizing that potential in mortgage and servicing will require making the right connections and knowing which problems you’re trying to solve. By David Wharton, Online Editor of DS NewsBETTERING MORTGAGE LINK BY LINK—Unearthing the potential of blockchain technology to revolutionize the mortgage industry. By Katie Jo Keeling, Managing Partner at McCarthy & Holthus, LLPLOOKING FOR A UNIVERSAL SOLUTION—Law firm audits cost servicers millions of dollars annually, but hope is on the horizon as we narrow in on uniform audit guidelines. By Randall S. Miller, President, Randall S. Miller & AssociatesRIPPLE EFFECT—With a new tax code in place, the impact is already being felt in the housing market. By Ralph DeFranco, Global Chief Economist, Mortgage Group, Arch Capital ServicesASK THE ECONOMIST—Paul Bishop VP of Research, National Association of RealtorsCOUNSEL’S CORNER—Roy A. Diaz Managing Shareholder, SHD Legal Group, P.A.All of this and more is waiting for you inside the latest edition of DS News magazine. Click here to access the digital archives, or click on the image below. Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Share Save Related Articles Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Previous: Pending Home Sales on Slippery Slope Next: The Industry Pulse: Updates on Black Knight, Old Republic, and More … The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Exclusive Content: What’s New in DS News Magazine? Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Sign up for DS News Daily Print This Post in Daily Dose, Featured, Headlines, Journal, Magazine, News, Print Features Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago About Author: David Wharton March 1, 2018 2,265 Views The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago
Hotel Bellevue, hotel brand Lošinj Hotels & Villas of the Jadranka Group has won a new international prestigious award.This is the Condé Nast Johansens award for excellence in the Best Destination Spa category, which was awarded to Lošinj’s Bellevue last night at the award ceremony at The May Fair hotel in London. The annual Condé Nast Johansens Award for Excellence for 2018 is a label of outstanding quality, and it was awarded to Bellevue thanks to the results of online voting, guest feedback and reports from local experts.It is also a faithful confirmation that the Bellevue Hotel really belongs among the world’s hotel elite and that it enjoys the trust of guests from all over the world. “It is a pleasure to be alongside the world’s leading hotels of the highest level and luxury, which in itself is a huge recognition and confirmation of our recognition at the international level. The Condé Nast Johansens Award for Excellence, as well as all awards so far, are the result of the joint work of all Jadranka employees who successfully spread the word about our hotels, premium offer and the island of Lošinj as a destination around the world. For all of us, this should be an incentive to continue to justify the trust of our loyal guests with dedicated work and raising the offer to an even higher level, so that they would always be happy to return to Lošinj.”, Pointed out the member of the Management Board of the Jadranka Group Goran Filipović.Hotel Bellevue 5 * has established itself as one of the favorite choices of foreign guests who enjoy and gladly return to the luxurious and airy atmosphere of the first 5 * hotel in Lošinj. That this is indeed the case is confirmed by the recognition given to him by TripAdvisor this year, for which the hotel guests are responsible. Namely, they declared Bellevue the best Croatian hotel and the best luxury hotel in Croatia after only two seasons since its opening, thanks to the characteristic premium level of the offer.Related news:THE COMBINATION OF “BLUE” AND “GREEN” CROATIA – DOES IT SOUND TO YOU?MODEL OF DUAL EDUCATION IN TOURISM: LOŠINJ JADRANKA GROUP BECAME A BERNAYS PARTNER IN THE TOURISM SECTOR
Topics : Roughly 70% of emerging infectious diseases in humans are zoonotic, or transmitted from animals to people. Genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 shows it’s related to two other deadly coronaviruses that originated in bats.Severe acute respiratory syndrome, which started in China in 2002, and Middle East respiratory syndrome a decade later spread to humans via a secondary animal source. In the case of SARS, experts pointed to civet cats—small, sleek nocturnal mammals used in wildlife dishes in China—as the probable conduit. With MERS, camels are believed to be the carrier.It’s presumed that SARS-CoV-2 has made a similar journey, yet investigators have yet to identify an intermediate animal host, according to Peter Ben Embarek, a WHO food safety and animal diseases expert. “We have some kind of a missing link in that story between the origin of the virus and when it started to circulate in humans,” he said.Household petsThat raises the disturbing possibility that an unknown animal source is still spreading the disease, known as Covid-19. WHO researchers reported Friday that household cats can transmit the virus to other felines, though there’s no evidence yet that pets can pass it along to humans.Standing in the way of a new scientific mission to learn more about the origins of the virus in China are practical issues of conducting impartial investigations in an authoritarian political system—and a US-China geopolitical rivalry that’s turned especially acrimonious of late.The Trump administration has accused Beijing of a massive cover-up about the severity of its epidemic. It has claimed, without providing evidence, that an accidental leak of the virus might have occurred at a bio-research lab in Wuhan, the city in central China where the outbreak was first identified. A Chinese official, in a tweet, accused the US military of introducing the pathogen to the country.Scientists who have studied the genetics of the virus are convinced it’s of natural origin rather than designed in a lab. An accidental release from the research center in Wuhan is possible in theory, but “just so implausible,” according to Stanley Perlman, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Iowa, who has visited the facility and rates it highly.One reason is the reputation of Shi Zhengli, a 56-year-old deputy director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology. In 2004, Shi found a natural reservoir of coronaviruses in bat caves near Kunming, a city in China’s southern Yunnan province. In February she published a paper in the journal Nature saying that the genomic sequence of the new pathogen was 96% identical to that of a coronavirus identified in Yunnan.Shi told Scientific American that a review of genetic characteristics of viruses she’s worked with in the lab didn’t match those of the coronavirus spreading in humans. In a social media post the virologist said she would “swear on my life” the pathogen causing havoc had nothing to do with her lab. US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has backed off earlier claims of “enormous evidence” that the virus escaped from a Wuhan laboratory.That still leaves scientists asking where and how the virus did jump into humans. So-called wet markets that sell live animals, like one in Wuhan to which many of the first cases of the illness were traced, have previously been implicated in the spread of disease. In this case, however, experts aren’t sure whether the outbreak actually started at the market, or was just discovered there.Peter Daszak, a disease ecologist at nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance, said it’s likely that Covid-19 began before the December starting point currently assumed, perhaps even outside of Wuhan. He estimates that 1 million to 7 million people every year in Southern China and Southeast Asia may get infected with bat viruses. Most don’t spread readily between people and many fizzle out before reaching major population centers, he said.“This particular outbreak probably was in people circulating in South or Central China back in November” or even earlier, he said.Another scenario envisions someone closely tied to the wildlife trade bringing infected animals to the Wuhan market. Once the virus reached the flourishing megacity of 11 million, it grew exponentially.Another crucial question is whether the virus moved to humans directly from bats or through a secondary source. If it’s the latter, the farmed or wild animal may still be spreading the infection. Pangolins—scale-covered mammals that look a bit like anteaters—have been suggested as one possibility, though the evidence is preliminary. If Covid-19 came directly from bats, it’s crucial to nail down where this happened, so that the authorities can institute preventive measures, such as keeping people out of the caves in which the flying mammals dwell.Figuring out all of this will take plenty of scientific detective work. Viruses constantly incur small mutations in their genetic material. By following a trail of genetically similar versions, disease trackers can identify the progression of the pandemic through time. “Counting the mutations, you can kind of backtrack your virus to where it all started,” said WHO animal virus expert Embarek.Tracing back the virus to its ultimate origin will also take cooperation from the Chinese government—and a bit of luck. Investigators will need unfettered access to the Wuhan market, its wildlife vendors, patient data and animal population. Yet the price of keeping SARS-CoV-2’s origins shrouded in secrecy would be steep. If the current crisis has taught us anything, it’s this: As human populations expand and encroach on wildlife habitats, the risk from dangerous animal viruses continues to grow. And in an interconnected world, epidemics that were previously localized can race around the globe with blinding speed.Without better research and surveillance systems of emerging animal viruses and regulation of traditional markets and wildlife trade worldwide, the risks of future pandemics runs high.“If we don’t do anything, if we continue what we have been doing for the past 50 years,” said Daszak, “there will be another one.” Last week, the World Health Organization sought permission from Beijing to send a new scientific mission for more epidemiological detective work. China, which let a WHO team into the country in early February as its epidemic raged, hasn’t yet signed off.President Xi Jinping, who’s personally overseeing China’s virus response and investigation into how the outbreak started, is keeping tight control over Chinese scientific research, which must be approved prior to publication by authorities, according to two people familiar with the situation. However, as death tolls and joblessness rise worldwide, pressure on Beijing is intensifying to allow international researchers back in to interview survivors, do field work, and examine virus samples that the country has been stingy about sharing, according to the USNearly half a year into a historic global health crisis, there are still enormous gaps in our knowledge. Those unanswered questions are hampering our ability to contain the outbreak and to prevent future pandemics, while fueling a war of words between the US and China over the origins of the virus. The best minds in virology are trying to unravel a mystery: How did a lethal coronavirus jump from the wilds of rural China to major human population centers? And what chain of genetic mutations produced a pathogen so perfectly adapted for stealth and mass transmission?Deciphering the creation story of SARS-CoV-2, as the virus now rampaging around the globe is known, is a crucial step toward arresting a pandemic that’s killed 270,000-plus and triggered what could be the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression.While crash vaccine programs are underway in the US, Europe and China, an inoculation to ward off the virus may not be ready for months, and the jury’s out on potential treatments. In the meantime, to reduce the risk of deadly secondary outbreaks or the emergence of an entirely new strain, disease chasers need to retrace the pathogen’s journey around the globe. That means heading back to China, where it all started sometime in 2019.
Manchester United legend. Peter Schmeichel, has hailed Odion Ighalo, believing the Nigeria international deserved his loan extension. Few gave the 30-year-old a chance when he rocked up at Old Trafford on the final day of the January transfer window. But he’s made an instant impact at the Theatre of Dreams, scoring four goals from eight matches so far. Manchester United raised eyebrows across the world when they signed Ighalo on the final day of the January transfer window. The 30-year-old left Shanghai Shenhua in order to return to the Premier League, having previously played in the top flight with Watford. United had been hoping to sign Erling Haaland from Red Bull Salzburg and many saw Ighalo as a downgrade on the Norway international, who instead joined Borussia Dortmund. But the Nigerian has silenced his critics and will now be at United until January 2021, after the club extended his loan spell. And Schmeichel, speaking exclusively to Express Sport, has hailed the former Watford striker for his impact so far. “I think he’s been one of the most positive surprises ever,” he said. “First of all his personality around the club, he’s been a revelation around the club. Everybody has tagged on and liked him straight away. “When you have that kind of personality, it changes the whole team. Someone who brings a laugh into the dressing room, rather than coming in grumpy or not saying anything. “It changes the dynamics. And what he’s done on the pitch, that really has surprised me. “I was kind of confused…because it was last day and it looked as if they were just needing and looking to bring someone in. “But that’s not the truth. And what he’s done is just fantastic. “And another thing as well, someone like him, all of his life the only thing he really wanted to achieve was to play for Manchester United. “Now that has been cut short by circumstances that are out of everybody’s control. And for what he’s done, in the very few games he’s ended up playing, it would have been heartbreaking if that was to stop. “I think he might not be a starter but he might be somebody you can throw into the mix. You’ve seen him in the Europa League, like Ole himself, he can come on and change a game. “Nobody, nobody, knows that better than the Manchester United manager. The value of having someone on the bench who can change a game, so I’m really happy about that.” read also:Ighalo: Manchester United, Watford, NFF, and CAF celebrate Nigerian star Another player United brought to Old Trafford in January was Bruno Fernandes. And the Portugal international has made a stunning start to life at the Theatre of Dreams, winning round fans with his blockbuster displays. Fernandes is expected to be the first name on United’s team-sheet when they face Tottenham on Friday night (8.15pm). FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Loading…
Sunil Gavaskar termed Indian selectors as lame ducks.Indian team will leave for West Indies on Monday. India finished as semi-finalist in recently concluded World Cup 2019. For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. New Delhi: The Indian cricketer turned commentator Sunil Gavaskar has lashed out at the national selection committee for not questioning Virat Kohli’s undisputed position as captain despite the below par performance at the recently concluded ICC World Cup 2019. The former skipper described the panel led by MSK Prasad as “lame ducks” in his column for Mid-day, Gavaskar said that by not following established procedure by reappointing Kohli as captain, the selectors have sent the message that he can retain the job for as long as he wishes to.”That they selected the team for West Indies without first having a meeting to select the captain brings up the question of whether Virat Kohli is the captain of the team at his or the selection committee’s pleasure,” wrote Gavaskar.“To the best of our knowledge his (Kohli’s) appointment was till the World Cup. After that, it was incumbent on the selectors to meet even if it was for five minutes for his reappointment.“Speaking of lame ducks, the Indian selection committee appears to be one. After the reappointment, he (captain) gets invited to the meeting for his views on the selecting the players for the team. By bypassing the procedure, the message that goes out is that while the players like Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik get dropped after below expectations performance, the captain continues despite much below par expectations where the team did not even reach the finals.”He further continued his attack against the selection committee which consists of former players Sarandeep Singh, Devang Gandhi, Jatin Paranjape and Gagan Khoda besides Prasad, Gavaskar said that the lack of stature in the group was an impediment in their smooth functioning.None of the current selectors had long careers in India colours and in fact two – Paranjape and Khoda – didn’t play a single Test, featuring only in a few ODIs. Gavaskar, one of the greats of Indian cricket himself, believes players of stature will be able to avoid getting “bullied” by the team management into making decisions.“This is probably one of the last selections for this committee as a new one will get appointed soon,” he wrote. “Hopefully that will have players of stature who will not get bullied and be able to tell the team management that their job is to play with the team chosen by the selectors.” highlights
Mike Trout, with bat and glove, helps Angels end losing streak Since then, the Angels have allowed Ohtani to take one-handed swings and to stand in against a pitcher throwing a bullpen session, both steps aimed at keeping him fresh as a hitter.Manager Mike Scioscia said Wednesday that they still aren’t sure what Thursday’s evaluation will show.“Hopefully we’ll get some good news,” he said. “I do think he’ll swing the bat before he’s ready to pitch, but that’s just my feeling. We’ll wait for our medical staff to give us direction and determine what the next step is.”Related Articles Clippers, Mavericks brace for the unknown in Game 4 Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros BOSTON — The day before the Angels are expected to get an update from doctors on Shohei Ohtani’s recovery, there was continued hope that he will be able to come back this year as a hitter.General Manager Billy Eppler said on MLB Network Radio on Wednesday that Ohtani could be cleared to hit, as long as there is evidence that his sprained ulnar collateral ligament has healed enough so that hitting won’t create any long-term risk to pitching.“If he was solely a DH, he would have been cleared right away,” Eppler said, “but because you are wanting that ligament to heal, to get that impact he brings on the mound, you want to – I don’t want to coin it the danger zone – but you want to get to the point where you are feeling that area has plenty of time to scar and heal. That’s what the three-week prescription is for, to buy you that time of scarring and healing.”Three weeks ago, when the Angels announced that Ohtani had undergone stem-cell therapy and a platelet-rich plasma injection, Eppler said this injury wouldn’t have been an issue if he’d only been a hitter.
Arsene Wenger admits doubts surrounding his future have contributed to an “absolutely horrendous” environment at Arsenal after they failed to qualify for the Champions League.Arsenal defeated Everton 3-1 on Sunday thanks to goals from Hector Bellerin, Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey but it was enough only to finish fifth as Liverpool beat Middlesbrough and Manchester City thrashed Watford.Wenger has refused to confirm he will stay on as manager next season and, after missing out on the Premier League’s top four for the first time since 1996, the Frenchman said the uncertainty had not helped.“Overall I believe that we played since January in a very difficult environment for different reasons,” Wenger said.“Some obviously that you know about, and that is very difficult for the group of players to cope with that. Some other reasons where we will talk about another day.“But the psychological environment for the group of the players was absolutely horrendous. I am very proud of what they have done, the way they responded and finished the season.“Certainly my personal situation has contributed to that. But they should not question it, I am professional, as long as I am somewhere I do my job until the last day.“You could not question my love or my loyalty to this club, because I said no to every club in the world to stay here with very restricted finances for years. So I don’t understand really why the question over that commitment.”Finishing fifth means Arsenal will play in the Europa League for the first time next season and missing out on Europe’s premier tournament may not sit well with their star players.The futures of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, in particular, both remain uncertain and Wenger lamented losing out to Liverpool by just a single point.“It’s very sad because for 20 years we were in it, and it is the first year we will not be in it,” Wenger said.“It’s very strange because for 75 points we are one point short and of course you can look everywhere where we did drop points.”Wenger chose not to join his players on the traditional end-of-season lap of honour after the victory over Everton but it was majority owner Stan Kroenke who took the brunt of the criticism from the fans.Alisher Usmanov has made a £1billion bid to take control of the club and supporters chanted for Kroenke to leave as their frustration mounted in the second half.“I respect Stan Kroenke a lot. He is not at fault if we did not reach the Champions League tonight,” Wenger said.“It is the technical department who is responsible for that. I don’t see what he has to do with that.”Gabriel had to be carried on a stretcher after sustaining a knee injury and Wenger admitted his chance of playing in the FA Cup final against Chelsea on Saturday “doesn’t look honestly too good”.Sanchez also limped off clutching his thigh while Koscielny, who was sent off for a lunge on Enner Valencia, will miss the Wembley showdown through suspension. Arsene Wenger 1
Gone are the maalishwallahs from the banks of the Hooghly, the age-old practice of an oil massage in its new avatar is here in Kolkata spas. And the city is taking to it like a fish to water. Whether it’s a traditional foot massage or an elaborate Ayurveda ritual, people,Gone are the maalishwallahs from the banks of the Hooghly, the age-old practice of an oil massage in its new avatar is here in Kolkata spas. And the city is taking to it like a fish to water. Whether it’s a traditional foot massage or an elaborate Ayurveda ritual, people in Kolkata are appreciating the nuances of holistic health. Top-end spas at luxury hotels have been doing brisk business since the early years of the past decade while standalone spas have lately started mushrooming in various parts of the city. However, at the end, it is the quality of the service that matters, point out spa owners and managers unequivocally. With people willing to pay anything for the best, competition is cut-throat. Fitness isn’t far behind either; the modern-day gymnasiums with a host of international branded fitness gear and loud chartbusters to boost the energy levels are drawing in hordes of people across various age groups. Adding to the fun are newer exercise techniques like Bollywood dance and krav maga, to name a few. Panelists choose spas with excellent packages and gyms with the best equipment. Simply Kolkata takes a look at the 10 best health and wellness facilities.Spa manager Sweta Tyagi at Club PranaClub PranaRating 8.5/10Rose petals, relaxing aromas, an air of quietude and refreshing energy greet guests at Club Prana. Spread across 12,000 sq ft, the place takes its name from the Sanskrit word for ‘life force’. The spa offers seven treatment rooms, named Prayag, Lotus, Marigold, Agni, Soundarya, Tulsi and Dhanwantari. Agni is used for couple treatment. Each treatment room, done up in light tones, is embellished with relevant knick-knacks to accentuate the atmosphere and the particular therapy being given. “The hydrotherapy sections is one of the finest in the city,” says spa manager Sweta Tyagi, 29. Various European treatments such as Swedish, aromatherapy, hot stone and deep tissue massages and Ayurveda therapies like Ilakizhi (hot herbal bundles), Udhwarthanam (body scrub) and Shirodhara (oscillation of warm medicated oil on the forehead) are on offer. Where: Hyatt Regency, JA 1, Sector 3, Salt Lake City.Tel: 23351234; www.kolkata.regency.hyatt.comAmbience: Light wooden flooring and natural light impart an airy look to the spa.Training: Therapists certified by international beauty and health therapy institutions like CIBTAC (Confederation of International Beauty Therapy And Cosmetology).Royal treatment: The Prana time traveller programme offers Oriental salt scrub, feet and body massages.Cost: Treatments range between Rs 2,000 and Rs 7,000.advertisementSpa in-charge Lalchhanhimi SailoOberoi Spa and Fitness Centre Rating: 9/10Despite overlooking an arterial road, the Oberoi Spa and Fitness Centre has an island-like feel, the pin-drop silence and a relaxing aroma are suitable additives. A single point of entry from the hotel lobby leads the guest to the spa, which has two therapy suites, a treatment room, a salon, separate wet sections for men and women and a well-equipped gymnasium. The spacious therapy suites are luxurious and relaxing and purple orchids on white linen add a refreshing touch. From the amount of pressure to the fragrance in the room or the oils applied, everything pertaining to any of the therapies or treatments can be customised. While the guest is being welcomed into the suites with a foot ritual, the therapist poses questions about any health issues or areas to avoid during any treatment. Guests can choose from bergamot, lemongrass, jasmine or eucalyptus for the incense and euphoria, melody or invigorating oil for the treatment. The lights are dimmed and soft instrumental music plays in the background while the therapist’s fingers begin to work their magic. “The tried and tested treatments make our guests return time and again,” says spa in-charge Lalchhanhimi Sailo, 30. “The Balinese treatment comes a close second to the Oberoi massage,” she adds.Where: The Oberoi Grand, 15 JL Nehru Road.Tel: 22492323; www.oberoihotels.comAmbience: Formal and stately, the spa radiates warmth and colonial charm.Training: The trainers undergo extensive training at any of the Oberoi Vilas properties.Royal treatment: The Oberoi therapy is a customised treatment routine for releasing muscular knots.Cost: Ranging from Rs 2,500 to Rs 10,500.Minu Budhia, the director at AddlifeAddlifeRating: 8/10It is hard to not get swayed by the grooving energy at Addlife when you see fitness enthusiasts on the treadmills or cross-trainers. The location of the gym works greatly to its advantage. Busy executives can have a quick workout before rushing off to work. When the 6,500 sq ft-gymnasium at the shopping and dining destination was up for grabs, director Minu Budhia, 46, seized the opportunity. However, she revamped the place to give it a more warm and comfortable look. Memberships to the gym aren’t easy to obtain, the director screens every member personally before giving admission. They are provided with customised fitness charts and exercise routines by the trainers. They can also avail therapeutic or relaxing massages and facials at the compact spa alongside the gymnasium. An interactive juice bar helps you grab a post-workout quick bite and healthy juices and salads. While the cardio section boasts of five treadmills, four cross-trainers, two cycles and a rowing machine, other gym equipment such as pec decks, smith machines, lat pulleys, bosu balls, kettle bells, Swiss balls and resistance bands are found abundantly in the gym. Where: Block A, 5th Floor, 22 Camac Street.Tel: 40013701; www.addlifespa.com.Ambience: Rows of fitness equipment lend a busy look as peppy music charges up the spaceTraining: Trainers are certified by Progressive Fitness, a standard fitness education programme for trainers and instructors.Royal treatment: Most of the equipment at the gymnasium is from Precor, USA.Cost: An annual individual membership with gym and spa benefits costs Rs 35,000.advertisementDe-stressing massage at Kaya KalpKaya Kalp Rating: 9.5/10 The coolness from the waterbodies, the enduring aromas of oils and herbs and the picturesque setting of the spa at ITC Sonar greet the guest for a truly sensory experience. Minimalism is the keyword in the architectural design. Cleanliness and natural light from almost all sides add to the spaciousness of the15000 sq ft area. Narrow corridors lined by wooden walls and cool black floors lend a warm and cosy look. Wooden beds used for Ayurveda treatments hang on the corridor walls. The relaxation area is magical in the evenings when rows of candles are lit. The red and white colour scheme across the spa and the liberal garnish of Indian spices across the interiors catch the eye. A range of revitalising body treatments such as pomegranate sugar scrub, Indian aromasoul rice exfoliation and Himalayan clay body envelopment is offered alongside relaxation rituals like the hot stone massage, gemstone massage, traditional Thai massage, sacred nature nourish massage, deep tissue massage and the tension reliever massage. Aromatic Indian oil blends, de-stressing massage strokes and a peaceful ambience ensure a complete sensory experience.Where: ITC Sonar, 1 JBS Haldane Avenue. Tel: 23454545; www.itchotels.in.Ambience: The secluded retreat surrounded by waterbodies has an aura of tranquility and romance.Training: Both Indian and Thai therapists are trained at the Kaya Kalp Academy at ITC Mughal, Agra.Royal treatment: The Kaya Kalp Massage relaxes the body and relieves muscular tension.Cost: Treatments range between Rs 2,000 and Rs 7,000.Manager Carolann Hooper at SolaceSolace Day Spa and Wellness CentreRating: 7.5/10Behind the black gates that swing open to reveal a white colonial bungalow and green lawns, every inch of the wellness centre speaks of destressing. With its holistic approach to beauty, health and wellness, Solace is a curious mix of two spaces. On the ground floor is the remarkably silent and soothing spa, the swimming pool and the energetic gymnasium while the activity studio above is abuzz every evening. Since its inception in September 2003, Solace has always pioneered the concept of wellness through its various initiatives, whether providing spa services at highly affordable rates or introducing the first Reebok-certified studio for aerobics. Evenings at the activity studio on the first floor are choc-a-bloc with programmes ranging from body sculpting and circuit training to pilates and krav maga. At the swimming pool, aqua aerobics and aquatherapy find maximum takers. “We will soon be introducing the rainbow programme, which is an amazing combination of yoga and colour therapy,” says manager Carolann Hooper, 39. The spa offers a wide range of facial and body treatments and massages using a variety of essential oils like rose, geranium, jasmine, mogra, sandalwood, lime and ginger, bitter orange and bergamot, eucalyptus and black pepper and camphor and fennel.Where: 4 Sunny Park. Tel: 2461566; www.solacedayspa.org.Ambience: Old world architecture and a serene air co-exist with lively energy in the gym and studio.Training: The trainers at the gymnasium are certified by FISAF (Federation of International Sports, Aerobics and Fitness)Royal treatment: The spa uses Eminence and Forest Essentials products only for the various treatments.Cost: Annual gym packages are priced at Rs 37,000.advertisementStaff at AuraAuraRating: 8/10Overlooking the poolside blue of The Park and away from the buzz of the restaurants and the entertainment zones downstairs, Aura Spa is the hotel’s little haven of peace and relaxation. The seven treatment rooms with different names and colour schemes include an Ayurvedic room called Ananda (green), a single suite, Soundarya (purple) and a suite for couples, Prem (red), besides Samriddhi and Gyaan (yellow) and Shiva and Shakti (blue). The therapists are skilled to perform Thai, Swedish, Balinese, aromatherapy, ayurveda and other contemporary treatments. The suite for couples offers special packages replete with fruit platters, champagne flutes and milk and rose petal baths. The spa offers annual membership to select guests following an eloborate screening of their profiles. However, the location of the ladies wet section on the lower floor is a dampener.Where: The Park, 17 Park Street.Tel: 40049000; www.theparkhotels.com.Ambience: Strong fragrance and splashes of colour make the spa youthful and soothing.Training: Trainers from the hotel chain’s Chennai outfit coach the therapists.Royal treatment: The Aura massage softens the skin and releases body toxins.Cost: Packages range from Rs 4,500 to Rs 15,000.A therapy at Amoda SpaAmoda SpaRating: 7/10Located in one of the premium shop-and-dine destinations in the heart of the city, the 3000 sq ft Amoda Spa has a distinct advantage of location; stressed executives can relax in the cool environs of the spa after a busy day at work. “I started Amoda with the intention of making easily available to the people of Kolkata the best therapies and well-trained therapists,” says Baid Group managing director Pushpesh Baid, 30. Baid Group deals with textiles, jewellery, metals, lifestyle and electronics. Bringing together a spa by day and a lounge by night, Amoda gave Kolkatans a unique concept, when it opened in September 2009. However, the French windows in the reflexology area are a terrible let down.Where: Ground Floor, 22 Camac Street.Tel: 40013100, 40013899; www.amodaspa.asia.Ambience: The black granite floor, the white collage frames and graphic designs on the walls make for an interesting backdrop.Training: All the therapists are coached at the spa’s training unit.Royal treatment: The Amoda Destress massage soothes tense muscles and allows free flow of healing energy.Cost: Packages range from Rs 1,200 to Rs 4,000.A Thai massage in progressThai SpaRating: 7/10While four outlets of the Thai Spa chain are located in shopping destinations, namely South City, Mani Square, City Centre and Alipore Enclave, the fifth address is on Short Street. “When I introduced Thai Spa in 2008, a mall in a retail atmosphere wasn’t a common concept,” says owner Shrivardhan Daga, 33. The interiors of all the spas are more or less the same with little variation in terms of area and layout. Oriental figurines with folded palms and fragrances of essential oils welcome the guest to the 2,000 sq ft at Alipore spa with five treatment rooms. The interiors are minimalist yet inviting while Oriental music plays in the background. The ever-smiling Thai as well as Indian girls in traditional Thai costume offer various therapies almost without uttering a word. The treatments in the Nuat Thai techniques are inspired by the lessons of Lord Buddha’s physician, Jivaka Komalaboat. An hour-long Thai aroma foot spa comprises a green tea ginger foot soak and oriental herbal polish followed by a traditional Thai massage and stretching exercises. While reflexology and foot spas are the most popular treatments others services include Swedish, hot stone, Thai dry massage and aroma body detox.Where: 17/1F, 3rd floor, Alipore Enclave.Ph: 40070396/97; www.thethaispaindia.comAmbience: Dimly lit, restful and relaxing with gurgling sounds of water in the background.Training: Trainers from Thailand are flown in intermittently to train the therapists.Royal treatment: The Royal Thai body massage exerts pressure on specific points and works on muscles, ligaments and the spine.Cost: Prices range from Rs 450 to Rs 4,500.CEO MJ Robertson, Dr Inde and Dr KrishnaSanjeeva Medical Spa Rating: 9.5/10A sense of calm and well-being sweeps over the moment you step into Sanjeeva Medical Spa at Vedic Village. Overlooking the natural lake of Vedic Village, the French windows in the foyer ensure a harmonious confluence of the quiet indoors and the peaceful outdoors. On the floor of the lower level of the spa is the emblem of the circle of life that is emblazoned at strategic locations across the resort as well. Offering the choicest therapies in Ayurveda and naturopathy, the 15,000 sq ft spa has 14 treatment rooms and three onsite doctors, who treat evidence-based problems. “We have qualified Panchakarma (five different procedures used in Ayurveda, believed to purify the body) doctors with considerable experience in hospitals as well,” says CEO MJ Robertson, 60. Even before a guest arrives at Vedic Village, he is in touch with the doctors, who gather his medical history and decide on a course of treatment through video-conferencing or consultation at the city outlet in a leading hospital. While Ayurveda therapies include Abhyangam (basic Satvic massage), Swedanam (Ayurvedic steam bath), Padaghata (body massage using feet), various Shiropakrama (head and scalp treatments), Sandhi Paricharana (joint and spinal care) and Pancha-karma among others, the naturopathy and wellness treatments offer acupressure, deep tissues and therapeutic massages and exotic revitalising and detoxifying therapies.Where: Vedic Village, Shikharpur, Rajarhat.Ph: 66229900; www.thevedicvillage.comAmbience: Pristine natural beauty makes it the perfect haven to relax and rejuvenate.Training: The spa has three onsite doctors, who are MD’s Panchakarma therapies.Royal treatment: Aarogyam is a special face therapy with medicated oil and a herbal hair pack.Cost: Prices range from Rs 500 to Rs 12,000 for various treatments.Director Divya Himatsingka at Gold’s GymGold’s Gym Rating: 8.5/10A row of furiously moving treadmills frames one wall of the gymnasium while trainers in red motivate people on the floor at Gold’s Gym on JL Nehru Road. A man in blue helps a lady with her crunches, the colour of his T-shirt indicates that his hour as a personal trainer is reserved solely for one member. TV screens hang in front of the treadmills and stationary bikes so you could catch up on the day’s news updates or listen to music. Since it opened its doors on June 2006, Gold’s Gym has seen changing attitudes towards fitness among the people of Kolkata. “The awareness is more and people are keen on looking fit. Zumba, the Latin-inspired fitness programme has become quite a rage here,” says director Divya Himatsingka, 35. Besides the regular gym routines, there is a variety of group exercises like pilates, Bollywood dance, yoga, spinning and cy-yo that help break the monotony. Various workshops are also held in the gym from time to time.Where: 5th Floor, 57 JL Nehru RoadTel: 30580300-02 www.goldsgymindia.comAmbience: Loud pulsating music fills the well-lit 8000 sq ft space. Bright and cheerful with posters all around.Training: Most of the trainers here are certified by Progressive Fitness.Royal treatment: Group exercises are offered free of cost for the first three months of the membership.Cost: Packages range from Rs 3,000 to Rs 33,000. PanelistsJaya Misra, Fashion designerWhen she’s not busy, she heads to spas.Rituparna Sengupta, ActressA fitness enthusiast.Neelanjana, Producer She finds instant nirvana in a rejuvenating spa.June Maliah, Actress Wellness is something she can’t do without in life.